Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Space Repairs & Supply Ships: On The I.S.S.

The International Space Station


SpaceWalk on December 21, 2015: Mark Garcia writes for NASA: “The three-hour and 16-minute spacewalk was the third for Kelly, who is nine months into a yearlong mission and the second for Kopra, who arrived to the station Dec. 15. It was the 191st in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Crew members have now spent a total of 1,195 hours and 20 minutes working outside the orbital laboratory.”
Photo Credit: NASA
Source: Time

Things break down, and when this happens on the space station (orbiting, on average, 355 km or 220 miles above the Earth), astronauts have to fix it in zero gravity, as this photo of Scott Kelly, Expedition 46 commander, shows. In this case, the problem was the robotic arm, which means that a spacewalk was necessary, always a dangerous (yet exhilarating) task. “There have been 191 spacewalks at the International Space Station since 1998,” NASA writes.

As for this latest spacewalk, on December 21st, Jeffrey Kluger writes for Time: “The only answer was to don their extravehicular activity suits, go outside and fix the problem. They did just that on Dec. 21, and the supply ship is now cleared to arrive. In these two pictures, taken during the spacewalk, Kelly wears the red stripes that are the insignia of the commander. Kopra, the junior member of this road gang, is in all white.”

This task had to be completed ahead of the supply ship, which docked with the station earlier today. writes NASA: “Traveling about 253 miles over western Mongolia, the unpiloted ISS Progress 62 Russian cargo ship docked automatically with the Pirs docking compartment of the International Space Station at 5:27 a.m. EST today. Progress is delivering 2.8 tons of food, fuel, and supplies to the crew aboard the station.”

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For more, go to [Time] & [NASA]